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Mini Spiced Apple Tarts with Chocolate

Apples are an all-American success story-each ...

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It’s that time of the year where Christmas lights start going up and families plan their Thanksgiving feasts. A big part of the holidays are apples, more specifically apple pie.. YUM. There’s nothing that can be wrong with a hot, fresh, flaky and juicy apple pie. And what’s better than just a slice- a tart! Just as flaky and yummy but smaller and with CHOCOLATE. Plus at the Thanksgiving table theres GOING to be that family member(s) that doesn’t want to eat too much dessert, or a big slice or they’re watching their weight. So this is the PERFECT addition to your dessert spread!

Petite decadent pastry shells filled with moist apples, brown sugar, spices and zest topped with lucisious chocolate and the only things left to complete the deal is your hand and mouth! I swear by Williams & Sonoma Basic Pastry Dough recipe because it’s easy, fast and super tasty. I just tweek it a bit of course!

OF COURSE I used my AMAZING Babycakes Machine and the tarts  they came out so cute and petite! However, these can be done in regular mini-muffin tin pans.

Basic Pastry Dough:

Spiced Apple Filling:

  • 4 green apples- peeled and cubed small
  • 2/3 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (fresh is so much better!)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange zest
  • pinch clove powder
  • PAM Baking Flavor

Chocolate Drizzle:

  • 3-4 bittersweet chocolate squares (I used Ghiradelli)
  • 2-3 tbsp half & half (I used fatfree Land-o-Lakes)
  • 2-3 tbsp warm water

Before Chocolate..

For the Pie Dough:

1. In a food processor add the flour, salt and sugar and pulse until blended. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the butter chunks are small pea sized. While pulsing, slowly dribble in the cold water. Add enough water until the dough has turned into a rough mass.

2. Place dough mixture on a floured counter and form into a 1-2 inch thick disk. Wrap with plastic and place in the fridge for AT LEAST 2 hours.

For the Apple Mixture:

1. In a bowl mixture together all the ingredients listed above. Place aside.

Putting it together..

**If using a conventional oven, preheat to about 375. Spray the muffin tins.

1. After 2+ hours, remove the dough from the fridge onto a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out into a thin pastry sheet (just before its thin enough to see through! Using a round 3 inch cookie cutter or a knife, cut out circles. Regardless of whether you’re using the babycakes machine or regular muffin tins, make sure to SPRAY them. Line each cup with the circles of dough pressing lightly into the cup to create a tart shell. If using babycakes machine, use the pie tart tool to press into the cups. Bake for about 5 minutes or until the shells are slightly cooked and slightly golden.

2. Remove the tins from the oven/ open the babycakes machine lid. Add enough apple filling to come over the top of the tin a little. Bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until apples are soft and crust is golden brown and crispy. Remove each tart from the tin/babycakes machine and let cool on a rack.

Pouring the Drizzle..

1. Heat chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for about 45 second. Pour in milk and 1 tbsp of water. Heat for another 30-40 second. Stir and if not melted, add another tbsp hot water and heat for another 30 second. Stir until smooth and glistening. You want the consistency to be a bit thin so you can drizzle the tarts.

2. Using a small whisk or spoon (I used a spoon) drizzle the tarts in a fast back and forth motion until tops are covered. Cool until chocolate is hardened.

Makes about 20 tarts

Serving Suggestions:

Hot with fresh whip cream and chocolate curls

Hot with fresh vanilla or dulce de leche ice cream

Hot with a nice cup of coffee

Wanna See More Recipes Using the Babycakes Machine?

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 25, 2011 in Baking, Chef Priyanka, Fruit, Sweets

 

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Homemade Dulce de Leche Ice Cream with Fresh Dulce de Leche

Merengue dulce de leche

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I don’t know how else to describe this ice cream, but other than decadent goodness (with not as much fat as you might think!) Also it’s not that difficult to make and its definitely a crowd pleaser. I made it for Thanksgiving to accompany our Pecan and Pumpkin pies and it was heavenly.

Creamy dulce de leche flavored ice creamed dripping with thick, caramel colored fresh dulce de leche- what could be better! Plus, you can make a huge batch and store it in the freezer! Yummy! I eat mine topped with raspberries, blackberries or strawberries. Also a scoop of this decadence tastes delicious in some homemade Iced Coffee Frappacino!

Furthermore, traditional Dulce De Leche ice cream is made with egg yolks for that custardy and creamy texture. However, I found my EGGLESS recipe to be just as good and creamy and HEALTHY (well healthier!). Anyways on to the scrumptious, creamy, amazing goodness of Homemade Dulce De Leche Ice Cream:

Ice Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream (yes I know, not healthy but this is the fattiest portion of the dish, and it makes about 3-4 cups of ice cream!)
  • 1 cup milk (I used skim plus)
  • 1 cup fatfree half & half (I used Land-o-Lakes Brand)
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup Homemade Dulce de Leche (Recipe BELOW)

1. In a heavy, large sauce pan heat together the heavy cream, milk and half & half over medium heat. Whisk int he sugar to dissolve. Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove from the heat and stir in 3/4 of the Dulce de Leche.

2. Cool COMPLETELY in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Don’t make the mistake of cooling over an ice bath and popping it into the ice cream maker- it won’t churn properly! (Trust me I’ve done it before).

3. Once cooled, prepare in your ice cream maker as the instructions state in the manual.

Towards the end, right before the ice cream is thick enough to your desired texture, drizzle in remaining dulce de leche to create swirls-

yes I was drooling at this point. Transfer to an air tight container and chill in the freezer until ready to serve.

Makes about 4 cups

Homemade Dulce De Leche:

  • 2 cups milk (I used skim plus)
  • 2 cups fatfree half & half (I used Land-o-Lakes Brand)
  • 1 vanilla bean- split with the seeds scraped out.
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

See all those specs of Vanilla Beans.. YUM..

1. In a large heavy pot pour the milk, half & half, sugar and vanilla bean & seeds and heat over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. You do NOT want to BOIL the mixture!

2. Once the sugar is dissolved add the baking soda and stir. Lower heat to LOW and cook stirring occasionally. You want the mixture to be BARELY simmering. This is a slow process, so some patience is required :) Cook for 1 HOUR.

3. After 1 hour, remove the vanilla bean and cook stirring occasionally for another 2 hours until you’ve achieved a medium-dark caramel color. It should reduce to about 1-1 1/2 cups.

4. Once you’ve achieve the color and thick texture (be careful it splatters a bit while you stir, and you don’t want to be burnt by HOT sugar!), remove the mixture from the stove. Over a heat proof bowl with a fine write mesh strainer, strain the dulce de leche. Cover with a lid/plastic wrap and store in the fridge until ready to use.

Makes about 1-1 1/2 cups

Like Eggless Desserts? Check out these!

Eggless Tiramisu infused with Amaretto

Chiroti- Indian Dessert sweetened with Cardamom & Saffron

Mini Apple Pie Tartlets with Chocolate

 
 

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Snowy Chocolate Cupcakes

Home-made chocolate cupcakes Self-raising flou...

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Source: chefpriyanka.wordpress.com

Did you ever want to make just a few cupcakes for maybe you and your immediate family or some friends? Isn’t it annoying when recipes are written to serve like 24 cupcakes- does anyone reallyneed to eat 24 cupcakes? No. Aside from the fact that it’s not healthy, it’s just completely unnecessary if you’re not having a party or get-together. So, I decided to make these cupcakes in a small batch, therefore nothing goes to waste and no one is compelled to eat more (even though they’re so delicious you’re going to want to eat like 5 of them at one sitting :) ).

Scrumptious chocolate cupcakes topped with lucisious dark chocolate frosting and snow! And by snow I mean sweetened coconut flakes- yummy! They’re easy to make and even easier to eat! And the cake is unbelievably moist because I used homemade buttermilk of course! Oh, if you’re wondering what kind of cupcake liner I used, they’re Reynolds Wrap! I did not use mybabycakes machine with this recipe- I know surprise surprise! I was in the mood for a regular sized cupcake :) .

Snowy Chocolate Cupcakes:

1. PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12 cup cupcake sheet with PAM and place liners in each cup. Set aside.

2. Melt the chocolate squares in the microwave and set aside to cool a bit. Meanwhile in large bowl beat together softened butter, brown and white sugar until creamy. Add the egg and beat until combined well about 2 minutes. Using a spatula stir in the melted chocolate.

3. In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa. In a small bowl combine buttermilk and vanilla- set aside.

4. With the mixer on low, add in about 1/3 of the flour mixture and blend well. Then add about 1/3 of the buttermilk mixture and blend well. Continue adding the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, alternating and mixing well between each addition. Scrape sides of bowl with the spatula. DO NOT OVER MIX.

5. Pour about 2 hefty tbsp of mixture into each cup. Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove and cool before frosting.

Makes 12 cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Frosting:

  • 4 tbsp Melted Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2  cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (I used Ghiradelli Brand)
  • 1 oz bittersweet chocolate melted (I used Ghiradelli 70% Cacao Bar)
  • 3 cups Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp Milk (I used skim plus)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1. In a large bowl combine melted butter and cocoa. Add the melted chocolate. Mix well until lumps are smooth. Using a hand mixer beat in confectioner’s sugar and 2-3 tbsp of milk. Beat until thick and creamy- I like my frosting really thick because it’s easier to pipe that way. However, you can add more or less milk depending on your desired consistency.

2. Place frosting into a piping bag with a medium round tip, or cut off a small corner of a big ziplock bag. Pipe into swirls on the cooled cupcakes. Top with a generous amount of sweetened coconut and serve!

Makes about 2 cups

Like Cupcakes? Try These!

Chocolate-Pumpkin Cupcakes

Vanilla-Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberries

 

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Rose Infused Red Velvet Cake Pops

Photograph of a slice of a 4-layer red velvet ...

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by chefpriyanka

Growing up I wasn’t a very big fan of Valentine’s Day. I don’t really like red roses and I hate hearts (maybe I’m traumatized by all the heart shaped jewelry that Staten Island girls wore). But, nonetheless I do like to indulge in chocolate and desserts whether or not I have a valentine. There’s no rule that says ‘you can only eat chocolate & strawberries if you have a valentine.’ If you want to make a special dessert for yourself or a loved one then this recipe is perfect for you!

I’ve been seeing ‘Cake Pops’ pop up everywhere! It’s the new fad in the dessert world. If you’re not aware of their existence let me fill you in. It’s moist cake mixed with frosting and enrobed in chocolate. And what’s better than rich Red Velvet cake enrobed in intensely dark chocolate? Well, infusing it with rose and topping with real silver leaf are just a few tweeks and additions that I thought would make it go from great to awesome. The process isn’t hard, it’s just a bit time consuming. But, if you’re looking to indulge and treat yourself or a loved one, then the time and effort are definitely worth it!

Red Velvet Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups + 5 tbsp All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghiradelli Bran)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I used Homemade)
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tbsp red food coloring
  • 1 tsp white distilled vinegar
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • PAM Baking Flavor

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 6 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened (I used Philadelphia Brand)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp rose water/essence

Chocolate Coating:

  • 4-5 bars dark chocolate, melted (I used Ghiradelli 70% Cacao)
  • silver leaf (optional)- available at Indian Grocery Stores

Process:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a rectangular pan (~9×13) with PAM and line with parchment paper. Spray with PAM and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Mix and set aside. In a large bowl add the eggs, buttermilk, vinegar, oil, food color and rose water. Using a hand mixer beat on low for 1-2 minutes until blended well. With the mixer on low, add about 1/2 cup of the dry ingredients and blend. Do this continuously until the dry ingredients are blended well with the wet ingredients and is smooth. Do not over beat. Pour into greased pan and bake for 35 minutes. Turn halfway through.

3. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Using the sides of the parchment sheet, lift the cake out and cool for another 15-20 minutes or until completely cool. Using a serrated knife, trim off the hard edges.

4. In a large bowl add cream cheese, butter and rose water. Beat on low speed for 1-2 until creamy and blended. While beating add in 1/2 cup at a time of confectioner’s sugar. Beat until everything is blended and creamy (resembles frosting).

5. In a large bowl crumble the whole cake into small pieces. Mix in the frosting using a spatula until its incorporated well and resembles a thick crumbly dough. Roll into 1-2 inch thick balls. Press together with fingers to make sure that the cake sticks together as a ball, and smooth using the palms of your hands. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze for about 1 hours- till its chilled & hard, not frozen solid.

6. Melt the chocolate in a large bowl. Take about 4 balls out of the freezer at a time and thoroughly coat each ball, dunking them into the bowl of chocolate. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet to dry. Decorate tops with drizzled chocolate (optional). Once the balls are all dry (few hours or over night) carefully decorate with the silver leaf.

 

Like Chocolate AND Dessert AND Yumminess?

Banana Bread Cake Pops

 

 

Snowy Chocolate Cupcakes

 

 

Mini Apple Tartlets with Chocolate

 

Peppermint Bark

 

 

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Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough Cake Pops

Don’t need much of an introduction for these yummy pops, besides mentioning that they’re CRAZY easy to make and I used a slightly ghetto cake-pop method. What! I wanted cake pops fast and I was tired! Jeez, a chef can take some shortcuts!

Anyways, I used Betty Crocker chocolate Chip Cookie mix and instead of using regular butter, I used Land-O-Lakes 50% less fat butter spread. The result was fluffy cake-like chocolate-chip goodness. Why you may ask did I use buttery spread? Well, since I’m just a little obsessed with being healthy, I decided to cut the fat and calories a bit by using the 50% less fat spread! It was amazing!

Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough Cake Pops:

  • 1 package Betty Crocker Chocolate-Chip Cookie Mix
  • 1/2 cup 50% less fat butter spread/margarine- at room temperature (I used Land-o-Lakes)
  • 1 egg- at room temperature
  • PAM Baking Flavor
  • 1 cup homemade vanilla frosting
  • 2-3 cups melted dark chocolate (I used Ghiradelli 70% Cacao)

Vanilla Frosting:

  • 2-3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp milk (I used Skim Plus)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2-1 tbsp unsalted butter- at room temperature (Yes, I used real butter for this)

1. Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Spray a large cookie sheet with PAM. In a large bowl add cookie mix, egg and butter. Mix all together until incorporated well and forms into cookie-dough texture. Drop about 2 tbsp rounds onto the cookie sheet. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, until soft, and medium-brown on the bottom. Remove and cool.

2. To make the frosting, in a large bowl add the butter and beat with a hand mixer until creamy. With the mixer on low add in the sifted confectioner’s sugar, increasing the speed as you add more sugar. After you’ve added all the sugar, beat in about 2-3 tbsp milk and vanilla extract. Frosting should be thick and cream (as if you were to frost a cupcake). Pour more/less milk to achieve that consistency.

3. In a large bowl crumble about 3/4 of the batch of cookies. Add the frosting and mix until you’ve reached a crumbly, dough-like consistency. Roll into balls and place on the baking sheet to freeze for about 30 minutes. Before freezing, place a lollipop stick into the balls, so the stick hardens with the cake and stays put. Remove and dip one-by-one into the melted, cooled chocolate. stand up-right in a glass or stick into a styrofoam slab to dry. Eat! I liked mine with a glass of cold fat-free milk :)

 
14 Comments

Posted by on March 24, 2011 in Baking, Chef Priyanka, Chocolate

 

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Chocolate and Almond Biscotti

A bowl of cocoa powder.

Image via Wikipedia

Chocolate BiscottiChocolate Biscotti

A work colleague once asked me if I order in restaurants the same way that I order coffee.  I thought his comment was pretty funny, especially since the weekend before my husband had said I was a waiter’s worst nightmare.

“What do you mean?” I asked my husband.

“Well, you like to change everything in the dish.  You want to order the steamed fish but have them fry it instead, and have the sauce on the side instead of pouring it over the fish – and if it comes with potatoes, you want rice instead!”  He said.

Surely he was exaggerating!

But I did have to concede to my work colleague that being finicky with my coffee never earned me any brownie points with the baristas.  One day I’m having a cappuccino with one sugar then the next I’m having it with one and a half sugars.  Then I learned that you get more milk with a latte so I switched to that (with one sugar).  Then I went off coffee and started having chai lattes – then soy chai lattes, then I missed my coffees and got back on to the lattes – but I wanted a weak latte, one and a half sugars and chocolate sprinkles on top…. oh and extra creamy.

And then I switched to tea – but that’s a whole different story altogether!

 

The one thing that remains constant though, is my love for a great biscotti.  Regardless of what drink I’m having, a perfectly made biscotti always goes well.  I simply love biscotti as it makes the perfect snack with tea (or coffee), especially since you can store it and bring it out when you have unexpected visitors.  This recipe keeps for up to a week in an airtight container.

I’m especially partial to this Chocolate and Almond Biscotti recipe.

When making this remember the dough is quite soft – so I used some cling wrap to shape the dough and then chilled it in the refrigerator which made handling much easier.

You’ll also want to make sure to have a sharp serrated knife so that when you cut the biscotti.  Remember, aim to cut the biscotti in one go – avoid a back and forth motion so you don’t shatter the loaf.

Chocolate BiscottiChocolate Biscotti

Chocolate and Almond Biscotti

  • 140 grams flour
  • 25 grams Lindt Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 60 grams butter
  • 50 grams Lindt Excellence 70% Chocolate, cut into pieces
  • 60 grams almond slivers
  1. In a bowl mix together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, using a hand held whisk, beat the egg, egg yolk, salt and sugar. Melt the butter and allow to cool slightly. In a bowl, melt the chocolate in the microwave for around 30 seconds (this will depend on the strength of your microwave)
  3. Add the butter and chocolate to the egg mixture and then add the flour mixture. Fold the mixture until smooth.
  4. Add the almond slivers evenly throughout the batter. The dough should be quite soft.
  5. Line a baking sheet with some cling wrap and place the dough onto the cling wrap and shape into a loaf, around 6 cm wide. Use the cling wrap to shape the loaf. Smooth and even the sides and cover with the cling wrap. Place the baking sheet with the biscotti load in the refrigerator and allow to chill for around 2 hours.
  6. Once chilled, remove the cling wrap and place the loaf in the center of a baking sheet. Pre-heat the oven to 175c (fan forced)
  7. Bake the biscotti for around 30 minutes until the loaf has spread and risen. The loaf should feel firm when pressed.
  8. Cool the load on the pan on a wire rack. When cooled, use a sharp serrated knife to slice the baked loaf, around 1 cm thick.
  9. Return the slices to the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Then turn the slices over and bake for another 8 minutes. Cool the biscotti completely.

 

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Baking, Chocolate

 

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nutella cheesecake layer bars recipe

Tartine et pot de Nutella

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DSC_2426

I am very much a creature of habit.

Daily routines, favorite foods, clothing styles, music preferences . . .

It’s all so predictable.

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So of course, my shopping tendencies are no different.

Case in point: 3 of the same horizontal-striped shirts from Gap in different color combinations.  (To be fair, I found two of them on sale.  Win win win!)

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I don’t know what it is about theses simple stripes that I like so much, but I always (and that’s no exaggeration) reach for this kind of clothing whenever I’m shopping.  It’s not so much reinforcing a style as it is my near-obsession with stripes.  (And I know that three shirts aren’t enough to constitute me calling this an obsessions – but these guys are just the tip of the iceberg.  One look inside my closet and you’d understand.)

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So I suppose it’s only natural that I would make a “horizontally-striped” dessert.

Layer bars.  I love them.

(Oh, and cheesecake too!)

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These bars are awesome.  They’re quick and easy (mixed almost entirely in the food-processor), require a pretty limited number of ingredients, and are flat-out delicious.

The first (bottom) layer is a chocolate graham cracker crust.  The crust isn’t overly sweet, though you could add a pinch of sugar if you’d like.  It’s more about the structural support for the bars, as well as the added chocolate flavor.

Next comes the second (middle) layer, which is really straight-forward vanilla cheesecake.  No bells and whistles.  But guess what?  It doesn’t need it.  Good-quality vanilla extract gets the job done.

Last is the third (top) layer – the layer we’ve all been waiting for – the Nutella cheesecake!  Blend in the infamously addictive chocolate-hazelnut spread with some reserved vanilla cheesecake and you’re good to go.  The Nutella flavor isn’t overpowering at all- it’s actually somewhat subtle.  It’s definitely detectable, but if you want a more robust Nutella flavor, go ahead and use a higher proportion of it.  You could even make a Nutella fudge sauce to serve with the bars.

DSC_2408

You can’t go wrong when there’s Nutella involved.

Nutella Cheesecake Layer Bars

- 8 Chocolate Graham Crackers

- ½ Stick Unsalted Butter, melted

- 16 oz. Cream Cheese, at room temperature

- 2 eggs, at room temperature

- ½ C. Granulated Sugar

- ¼ + 1 Tbsp. Heavy Cream

- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

- ¼ C. Nutella

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Butter an 8 x 8 baking pan and line with parchment paper, making sure that the parchment is well pressed in the corners.  Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse chocolate graham crackers until they become crumbs (like bread crumbs).  Add in melted butter and pulse until moistened.  Press graham cracker mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Bake crust in the center of the oven until set, about 12 minutes.  Set aside and cool.

Clean out the food processor.  Add cream cheese, eggs, sugar, ¼ C. heavy cream, and vanilla extract.  Pulse until smooth.  Put 2/3 of the cream cheese mixture in a bowl and set aside.  Add Nutella and 1 Tbsp. of heavy cream to remaining 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture in the processor.  Pulse until smooth.

To assemble, spread the vanilla cheesecake mixture over the cooled graham cracker base, being careful not to disturb the crust.  Pour Nutella cheesecake layer on top of vanilla layer and spread evenly.  Bake on the center rack of the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the center jiggles slightly.  Remove from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

When ready to serve, lift bars out of the pan by lifting up the parchment paper (it should release easily).  Slice into 16 squares and serve.

Yields 16 Squares

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Source: http://themoonlightbaker.com/2011/03/04/nutella-cheesecake-layer-bars/

 

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Baking, Chocolate

 

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Thick & Rich Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Dry ingredients for a Wacky Cake - ingredients...

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We are guilty as charged: “TheshoeboxKitchen doesn’t do enough chocolate!”

Well, we hope that the velvety chocolaty richness left in your mouth after trying this pudding will be enough to post our bail until we can backfill the chocolate deficiency in our recipe archives with some of your own suggestions.

Okay, on to the pudding!  What is a pudding, anyway?  How is it different from a custard?  What differentiates a pudding from a mousse?  If you’re asking similar questions, then we’re right there with you.  So many pudding recipes call for cornstarch as a thickening agent, other recipes look more like a custard, relying on the proteins in egg yolks to cause the pudding to set.  Still others use both egg yolks and cornstarch.  And then there’s mousse – let’s not even go there right now.

We were going for a rich pudding, so we knew we wanted to use egg yolks.  But some recipes we found that depended solely on egg proteins to thicken the pudding were accompanied by comments suggesting that the pudding ended up runny or that folks had difficulty getting it to set.  So we decided to throw in some corn starch as well, just to be safe.

What we ended up with is some combination of a David Lebovitz custard-based chocolate ice cream recipe and a Food52 finalist’s pudding recipe.

Thick and Rich Chocolate Pudding

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch (less if you don’t want it as thick)
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate

Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds into a bowl with the sugar.  ”Chop” up the seeds so they are as distributed as possible (not clumped together) throughout the sugar.

Measure out the cocoa powder as well.

And go ahead and set aside your 5 ounces of chocolate.  We used chips because they melt efficiently.  If you buy bars of chocolate, cut them up into small pieces.

Now pour into a medium saucepan the heavy cream and half & half (or milk, if you’d like a lighter pudding).  Add to this liquid the vanilla seed & sugar mixture as well as the cocoa powder.  Throw the vanilla bean husk in there too, just for good measure.  Whisk everything together and then warm over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally.

While the cream mixture is heating on the stove, whisk together the egg yolks until they are pale yellow, then add the corn starch and whisk until the yolks and starch are well-combined.

When the cream mixture starts to steam slightly and form little bubbles (about 175 degrees), remove it from the heat and remove a ladle-full of the warm liquid.  Slowly pour the warm liquid from the ladle into the egg yolks, whisking the yolks continuously.  Then, transfer the now-warmed egg yolk mixture back into the original saucepan, whisking the contents of the saucepan continuously.  Continue to whisk the custard mixture (yes, this is essentially a custard with cornstarch added) until the mixture reaches about 180 degrees.  Do not let the mixture boil or you’ll have scrambled egg pudding.

When your mixture hits 180 degrees, remove it from the heat and pour it through a strainer into a separate bowl.  Now dump in the chocolate and continue to whisk until all of the chocolate is melted, leaving you with smooth, velvety perfection.

Now, if you want to get fancy,  dump that velvety perfection into your food processor and process for about a minute.  This tip comes from Dorrie Greenspan, and results in a silkier, slightly airier pudding (i.e., more perfect than before).  We thought this step made the texture a bit closer to mousse (not as airy as mousse, but silky like mousse), which we were very happy to discover.

Pour the pudding directly from the food processor into small bowls or ramekins.  Be timid with the portions – this stuff is rich!

Oh, and if you’re not a fan of pudding skin, immediately place plastic wrap over and on the surface of the pudding.  Let the pudding cool in the fridge for at least three hours, or overnight. (Editor’s note: We’ve actually found that we prefer this pudding just slightly chilled; so, if you have refrigerated it, take it out and let it sit on the counter for at least half an hour before digging in – if you can wait!)

This pudding is very smooth and stick-to-a-spoon thick.  It is rich, but not too sweet, has just the right amount of chocolate flavor, and the vanilla undertones from the fresh vanilla seeds add an extra layer of depth.  If you love chocolate, well, this one is a no-brainer.

What other chocolate dessert should we try?  Before you close this window, add a comment below and tell us what we should make next!

 

Source: http://theshoeboxkitchen.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/chocolate-pudding/

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Baking, Chocolate, Sweets

 

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Mini Mango Crisp Recipe

Example of Mangoes, shoot in Taipei, Taiwan. T...

Image via Wikipedia

by jeg

So, this blog is turning a bit food-based.  Hmm.  OK by me!  Since I’ve resolved to cook more for myself, the blog is motivation to actually do it.  And documenting it with my new toy has become borderline obsessive.  So, after my delicious “soup” lunch yesterday, I was in the cooking mood and decided to make something yummy for dessert.  I had some mangoes and decided I would finally make the individual mango crisp I’ve been planning to make for probably 8 months.  You see, last summer, after I bought my house and was replacing things that had been my old roommate’s stocking up on a few kitchen essentials, I saw these adorable little individual ramekins and decided I must have a couple.  You know, so I could make my own personal mango crisp, whenever I wanted one.  I have a tendency to make impulsive purchases like that.  Don’t worry, sometimes I return them.  Anyway, I put the ramekins on the shelf and sort of forgot about that idea.  Until yesterday.  I eyed that mango and thoughtindividual mango crisp. I frequently like to make the full size version of this dessert, but if I’m not serving it to enough people, it can turn into over-indulgence on my part.

See that little guy, hiding back there, begging to be used?

Individual Mango Crisp
1 mango (or enough frozen mango to fill your individual ramekin)
sugar to coat mango
2T butter, softened
2T flour
1T old-fashioned rolled oats
1.5T sugar
vanilla ice cream, if desired

Cut up mango into small chunks until miniature ramekin is full.  Toss the mango with about a spoonful of sugar, enough to coat the fruit. (Because mango’s just not quite sweet enough already – ha!)

Mix together the butter, flour, oats, and sugar.  This is the crumble topping.  Drop it in chunks and do your best to spread it around on top of the mango.  Since the dish was rather small, I put it on my toaster oven pan to make it easier to get in and out of the oven.  Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes or until crisp topping starts to brown.

pre-baking

Let it cool for a minute after you take it out of the oven.  Put your little ramekin on a plate, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Baking, Fruit, Ice Cream, Sweets

 

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Chocolate Cupbread Recipe

White chocolate is marketed by confectioners a...

Image via Wikipedia

So while everyone needs no introduction to the universally celebrated cupcakes, i shall present cupbreads!

Here in Indonesia, these breads are known as “bloeder”, or sometimes spelt as “bluder”. And I am guessing, from its name, it is probably western influenced. These breads are very much like French Brioche, without small head of a dough on top of it.

Similar to the brioche, the bloeders is very high in both butter and egg content, they are indeed very rich and tender crumbed. I don’t even think you need to chew on these. Besides butter and egg, these bread are also very high in sugar content, which makes it pleasantly sweet tasting even when eaten on its own. But having said that, still, i have decided to fill them up with a generous chunk of milk chocolate. Because really, since i am already eating something sinfully delicious, why not go all the way? LOL

The proofing time for this bread takes a wee bit longer than usual. I suspect it might be because of all that butter and sugar, which might dampen the yeast activities. The total proofing time for this bread was about three hours, and in my tropical weather, that’s considered very, very long.

The dough for these bloeders are also quite different from the dough i am used to. Being high in butter content, these breads are very slimy. My hands kept sliding off the dough as i tried to knead it. Sealing the chocolate chunks within the dough was also not easy with the grease coating all over the dough.

As for the texture of the final product, these breads are so fluffy that you tear a huge chunk off these bread, thinking you will get full after a few mouthful, but in reality, being voluminous looking because of air, these bites just dissolve into nothingness.And you risk looking like a glutton when u reach for your second piece.

I also think i might have overbaked this dough as it turned out quite dry and crusty at the sides, and i must definitely keep closer watch over these next time!

Chocolate Filled Cup Breads

Recipe from an Indonesian cookbook “Roti sisir & Roti Sobek” by Lanny Soechan

15 egg yolks

250 gr granulated sugar

1 kg bread flour

20 gr instant yeast

50 gr milk powder

300 ml fresh milk

250 gr butter

1 tbs salt

some chocolate chunks

some evaporated milk

some chocolate chips

1. Beat egg yolks and sugar till it thickens and turns pale yellow

2. Combine flour, yeast, and milk powder. Add in the egg yolk mixture gradually and stir till well combined.

3. Add in the fresh milk, salt, and butter. Knead till elastic

4. Leave to proof till double in size

5. Punch down dough, cut and weigh each dough to be about 60 gr. Wrap the chocolate chunks within each dough and drop them into papercups. Let it proof a second time till double in size.

6. Brush the surfaces with evaporated milk and sprinkle some chocolate chips.

7. Bake at 160 degree celcius till the surfaces turn a nice golden brown.

 

Source: http://crustabakes.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/chocolate-cupbread/

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Baking, Bread, Chocolate, Dessert, Sweets

 

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